2016 Media Planning season is in high gear with hundreds of marketing concepts and trends vying for a planner’s attention, and dozens of optimization tools available to weigh the options. It certainly can be overwhelming, a process that is equal parts analytic and intuitive, and there is no end to new things to keep up with as they emerge on the scene. This is particularly true of out of home advertising, which is in the midst of a renaissance lately, driven both by innovation and technology.

As your 2016 planning continues, here are some things to keep in mind, along with trends that we see gaining momentum:


1. Conferences are the new water cooler

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), conferences and conventions have continued to grow quarter after quarter for the last 5 years.  While many people work remotely and technology reduces the need for meetings, getting face to face is more important than ever – to meet new colleagues, to deepen relationships, to explore the latest industry developments.  Away from their computers, these attendees are ripe to learn, ideal audiences for new products and services and out of home provides a host of ways to reach them.

See a demonstration of a client’s dominating trade show / conference presence here.


2. Experiential helps to keep it real in our digital world

Our lives have become so digitized that we crave ways to interact with others.  Experiential marketing is a dynamic means of addressing that need while achieving solid business objectives. Teams can sample new products, create immersive personal moments, distribute offers, and garner valuable feedback while also providing exciting PR traction — all while entertaining and deeply engaging consumers.

Studies are providing strong results: in 2014, The Event Marketing Institute found that 93 percent of consumers say live events are more effective than TV ads, with another 89 percent saying events improve their understanding of a product or service better than a TV, print, online or radio ad does. In addition, 96 percent are more likely to buy a product after participating in a branded live event, and 74 percent of consumers report having “a more positive impression” of the company.

Now that’s ROI.  As an example, take a look at our recent campaign for T-Mobile.


3. Creative thinking (still) rules

With all the cool new devices available, it may seem like the job is done once the right channels are chosen, though that’s really where the fun begins. Out of home advertising has always been ‘pure’ in this regard – the medium IS the message and how it’s used is as critical as what venue is selected. Designing copy indigenous to the location and for the audience ups its effectiveness considerably, along with following basic tips regarding typeface and color contrasts to make sure it pops.  When in doubt, take advantage of the OAAA’s Testing Tool for creative to trial your layout.


4. OOH enhances online and social media — and has proof

Digital advertising and social media are becoming increasingly important to a brand’s marketing mix, yet algorithms and other barriers can really make it difficult for posts to be seen regularly.  Out of home advertising can serve as a beacon to direct viewers to web pages and alert them to social media promotions.  It’s truly the perfect marriage as consumers are on the go, enabling them to act in real time and drive up to your digital door.  Again, the evidence is there to support this trend: the USA Touchpoints / Reality Mine study shows that out of home outperforms all traditional media in the hour before online searching or check-ins occur, keeping brands top of mind.  We wrote about this recently, and in more detail here.


5. Smart Advertising Works Best

We should always assume that the consumer is smart, of course. To do otherwise is to risk getting ignored or worse – harm your brand’s reputation.  To the degree that you can delight and be clever, your prospect will not just enjoy the experience but also like you better in the process.  In a recent study published in the Harvard Business Review that examined what makes video advertising stick, a core component was entertainment.  We know that this concept transfers to other media also. Out of home provides countless ways to create entertaining and enjoyable experiences, so consider this when devising your marketing program.


6. Election Year Strikes Again

Last but not least, with 2016 being a big election year, much traditional media inventory demand and pricing is bound to increase.  OOH not only offers an alternative, but will amplify messaging to voters in a way that no other medium can.

There are dozens of innovative and dynamic opportunities available in out of home advertising and experiential media to reach and influence voters — on a large scale, or in intimate settings. We’d be most happy to serve as tour guide to sort through the best local and national options.

How is your 2016 planning going?  Please visit www.emcoutdoor.com to browse our portfolio or drop me a line at bjm@emcoutdoor.com. I would love to assist!